It’s a great feeling when game companies allow fans access to some of the best titles that have graced consoles in previous generations, for the current one, with a pretty coat of remaster paint. There have been many instances of this, including Final Fantasy VIII, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Dark Souls, and many more. Finally, Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition has arrived on the new generation of consoles, only three years after its 20th anniversary. With the irrelevancy of the PS3 and the Vita (RIP), the only ways to play this title, it has been a long time coming.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition allows players to dive into the world of El Nido as the typical silent protagonist type, Serge, to uncover why he has been transported to a parallel world where he drowned as a seven-year-old child. The beginning segment of the game is still a drag, with a collection type quest akin to the beginning of the original Kingdom Hearts, where the player must collect items to advance the story.
Fortunately, the narrative picks up extremely fast, and the writing has dramatic, tense, and funny moments to entertain the player from beginning to end. Character interactions provide much needed backstory, and how the world functions. There is an instance where an over-protective parent forbids their child to play with another—the recruitable character Korcha—due to his wild nature. Small moments like this flesh out the game world with finesse.
The best part of this beginning is the warmth it shows new players, and those who have played this segment before, can hit the right trigger to speed the game up like other Square Enix ports such as Final Fantasy IX. Having to traverse the world map painfully slowly is no longer apparent with this new mechanism, a godsend for those returning to El Nido after many years.
“Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition allows players to dive into the world of El Nido as the typical silent protagonist type, Serge…”
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition looks far better than the original, but still contains the charm that enthralled players on the PS1, including the bare-bones tutorial that has the player face off against two of the inept-est knight enemies to have ever featured in RPGs. Knights Solt and Peppor guide the player through the battle system with hilarious effect, that sees them constantly make ‘shake’ puns, and mistakes that infuriate their commanding officers. The immense charm of the Chrono series has held strong over the years.
Another feature that was added to Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, is the ability to supercharge characters during the combat segments, which is geared towards those who mainly want to unravel the story without much effort. This is a cool addition to the title, as it makes it more accessible for those seeking the narrative, which is the strongest part of the title. The combat system is an easy-to-approach entry for newcomers to the RPG landscape. Simple turn-based options greet the player, with magic called ‘Elements’ and abilities characters can utilize.
Elements and abilities that fall under that category can only be used ONCE in a combat scenario, so players will have to strategize to succeed. A simple to grasp, hard to master concept. This remaster should have included an ‘Ability’ tab for signature moves, such as Kid’s Pilfer technique that allows her to steal items. This would have streamlined the battle process for seasoned players, and made it less confusing for newcomers, but it is a small gripe that can be easily overlooked in the grand scheme of things.
“The combat system is an easy-to-approach entry for newcomers to the RPG landscape.”
Combat in Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition still plays exactly as designed, a turn-based battle system that allows for strategy and utilizes a simple stamina bar individually for each character. The system can be described as a very basic Bravely Default idea. Using too much stamina will allow adversaries to punish your party members multiple times if the player gets overzealous, a concept ahead of its time that aged very well.
When I originally played Chrono Cross, I was HYPED to see random battles made popular by Final Fantasy were dropped in place of seeing enemies on the screen before encounters, and the return of this mechanic is still a huge breath of fresh air. For returning players, a simple toggle allows a swap of the new refined palette, for the old PS1 graphics. This details all the changes the developers have made since the PS1 version, an awesome idea to show how far the games graphics have come. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition not only welcomes new players with open arms, but clutches returning players with nostalgia, as if greeting an old friend after many years.
The Radical Dreamers inclusion is a notable one for fans that have never played it before. It’s basically a ‘choose your own adventure’ text game that features the protagonists of Chrono Cross. This is a fantastic addition to the remaster, considering the only way to have played this title for fans was to have owned a now-defunct Nintendo Satellaview, which made it literally impossible to play. While main character attitudes are expanded upon in this unique addition, a certain scenario connects the game to the legendary prequel title Chrono Trigger, a must-play for Chrono series fans.
“Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition not only welcomes new players with open arms, but clutches returning players with nostalgia, as if greeting an old friend after many years.”
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition brings a JRPG classic to the new generation of consoles to great effect. An in-depth battle system, a wealth of exploration, and a MASSIVE cast of over 40 characters that have their own personalities greet the player, with each coming equipped with different accents to make the game world even more massive. The original musical score returns and is revamped on the remaster, despite reports that floated around prior to release suggesting The Radical Dreamers Edition would receive a brand new soundtrack. The original musical offerings by composer Yasunori Mitsuda are left intact, to the relief of returning fans.
However, there are a few gripes to be had, such as framerate issues, button input lag, and general hiccups that happen during gameplay and some fight confrontations. These are far in between though, and don’t fracture the gameplay. It is irritating to press the A button twice, and no response to be given. Another issue that returns is ‘% of hit’ in battle feeling too random. Many times, I attacked an enemy with an over 80% hit rate, for a huge whiff to happen. The RNG is too random for sure.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition brings back the magic so many fans have been enamoured with upon the original release. Beloved characters return with brand-new artwork, graphical design, and quality of life improvements that aim to make the title better. The Radical Dreamers inclusion is icing on a well-done cake that just adds more content to an already sprawling hours long storyline. All fans need now, is a Chrono Trigger remaster to finish the series up with a flourish.